Beth Noveck

Beth Noveck
Jacob K. Javits Visiting Professor

Beth Simone Noveck directs The Governance Lab (www.thegovlab.org) and its MacArthur Research Network on Opening Governance.  Funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation,  the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Google.org, the GovLab strives to improve people’s lives by changing how we govern. The GovLab designs and tests technology, policy and strategies for fostering more open and collaborative approaches to strengthen the ability of people and institutions to work together to solve problems, make decisions, resolve conflict and govern themselves more effectively and legitimately.

The Jacob K. Javits Visiting Professor at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a visiting professor at the MIT Media Lab, Beth is a professor of law at New York Law School. She served in the White House as the first United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer and director of the White House Open Government Initiative (2009-2011). UK Prime Minister David Cameron appointed her senior advisor for Open Government, and she served on the Obama-Biden transition team. Among projects she's designed or collaborated on are Unchat, The Do Tank, Peer To Patent, Data.gov, Challenge.gov and the Gov Lab's Living Labs (livinglabs.thegovlab.org) and training platform (thegovlabacademy.org).

A graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School, she serves on the Global Commission on Internet Governance and chairs the ICANN Strategy Panel on Multi-Stakeholder Innovation.

She was named one of the "Foreign Policy 100" by Foreign Policy, one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company and one of the “Top Women in Technology” by Huffington Post.  She has also been honored by both the National Democratic Institute and Public Knowledge for her work in civic technology.

Beth is the author of Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger and Citizens More Powerful, which has also appeared in Arabic, Russian, Chinese and in an audio edition, and co-editor of The State of Play: Law, Games and Virtual Worlds. Her next book The Networked State will appear with Harvard University Press. She tweets @bethnoveck.

Semester Course
Spring 2014 PADM-GP.2425.001 Government 3.0: Rethinking Governance for the 21st Century

We live in an era of unprecedented technological innovation with ingenious new advances for achieving clean energy, eradicating disease and providing greater wellness, more equitably and effectively delivering education, and improving the quality of human existence and expression. At the same time, we are experiencing clear deficits within centralized institutions of government and civil society: deficits of agility, innovation and capacity. These traditional institutions are failing to tap into the diversity of expertise and experience of individuals and communities, rendering us less able to quickly discover, recognize, implement and scale innovative approaches to pressing problems and making it impossible to translate technological innovation into social progress. New technology makes collaborative problem solving possible. In this course, we explore how we might use technology -- from big data to social media -- to redesign our systems of governance to devolve power from centralized, hierarchical institutions and evolve more robust collaboration among individuals, groups and institutions including government and the media. Through customized reading lists, blogging assignments, and a final design project participants will apply what we learn about innovation to the issues about which they are the most passionate.


Download Syllabus
Fall 2013 PADM-GP.2425.001 Government 3.0: Rethinking Governance for the 21st Century

We live in an era of unprecedented technological innovation with ingenious new advances for achieving clean energy, eradicating disease and providing greater wellness, more equitably and effectively delivering education, and improving the quality of human existence and expression. At the same time, we are experiencing clear deficits within centralized institutions of government and civil society: deficits of agility, innovation and capacity. These traditional institutions are failing to tap into the diversity of expertise and experience of individuals and communities, rendering us less able to quickly discover, recognize, implement and scale innovative approaches to pressing problems and making it impossible to translate technological innovation into social progress. New technology makes collaborative problem solving possible. In this course, we explore how we might use technology -- from big data to social media -- to redesign our systems of governance to devolve power from centralized, hierarchical institutions and evolve more robust collaboration among individuals, groups and institutions including government and the media. Through customized reading lists, blogging assignments, and a final design project participants will apply what we learn about innovation to the issues about which they are the most passionate.


Download Syllabus
Spring 2013 PADM-GP.2425.001 Government 3.0: Rethinking Governance for the 21st Century

We live in an era of unprecedented technological innovation with ingenious new advances for achieving clean energy, eradicating disease and providing greater wellness, more equitably and effectively delivering education, and improving the quality of human existence and expression. At the same time, we are experiencing clear deficits within centralized institutions of government and civil society: deficits of agility, innovation and capacity. These traditional institutions are failing to tap into the diversity of expertise and experience of individuals and communities, rendering us less able to quickly discover, recognize, implement and scale innovative approaches to pressing problems and making it impossible to translate technological innovation into social progress. New technology makes collaborative problem solving possible. In this course, we explore how we might use technology -- from big data to social media -- to redesign our systems of governance to devolve power from centralized, hierarchical institutions and evolve more robust collaboration among individuals, groups and institutions including government and the media. Through customized reading lists, blogging assignments, and a final design project participants will apply what we learn about innovation to the issues about which they are the most passionate.


Download Syllabus
  Projects
Opening Government
Description

NYU Wagner is hosting a multidisciplinary group of thinkers and doers funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to explore the possibility of creating a Research Network on “Opening Government.” This“pre-network” group will analyze the potential impact of technology on democratic institutions—specifically, how we can use technology to create more collaborative ways of governing to tackle the world’s hardest problems.

For more information, visit Wagner Governance Lab.

Contract Commons
Description

The Contract Commons Project will build an online system to assist government procurement officials with negotiating and drafting technology and software agreements. The goal of Contract Commons is to make it easier for public institutions to obtain better technology and to help vendors elicit the requirements of public sector clients more effectively. Through a partnership with the Stupski Foundation, the first area of focus in the public sector will be K-12 Education.

For more information, visit the Contract Commons project online.

Capstone: World Bank Project on Innovative Procurement
Description

Proposal Abstract – Procurement policies are optimized around acquiring a hammer from Hammer Inc. rather than identifying the most effective solution for affixing a nail, which might come from an unexpected and nontraditional source. NYUWagner Capstone students will design the process, policy, and technology for an open and collaborative public procurement process that can be deployed and tested by the World Bank on itself. The goal of the project will be to identify new, open and collaborative public procurement mechanisms or existing best practices to foster the identification, implementation and scaling of innovative solutions to solve the world’s most pressing problems.

For more information about NYU Wagner's Capstone Program, please visit http://wagner.nyu.edu/capstone

For more information about World Bank, please visit http://www.worldbank.org

IT in Law Teaching
Description

Short Description: Faculty at New York Law School are currently developing new ways to help students learn law by interacting with software programs outside of class.

Current projects include the following:

  • Client Simulator
  • Legal Card Game
  • Yellow Pad Adventure
  • Equity Teeter-Totter
  • Interactive Estate Distribution Animation
  • Knowledge Loom
  • Legal Nodes and Links

What Problem Does It Solve?: Faculty time is limited. Students learn most effectively when they can play a role, build an argument structure or take actions based on their understanding of the material. Multiple choice tests don’t probe true understanding. But essays are difficult to grade. The interactive systems we are working on allow students to build legal structures, play a role, or use interactivity to explore relationships between legal concepts.

How Does It Do That?: These systems are designed to be very easy to author. A non-technical faculty member can create a new exercise in no more time than it takes to come up with a good hypothetical for use in class. The student can then use these systems at their own convenience, between classes, to develop a better understanding of the subject matter. Because these systems use semantic objects, the student’s work can be evaluated (scored) automatically – and the student can “re-play” the exercises again and again to reinforce the learning experience.

Why Is It Different?: All of these tools are designed to allow a non-technical faculty member to author an interactive learning tool very quickly. The interactivity is designed to reinforce learning. The object oriented structure allows real time assessment of student performance. And playing with these interactive learning tools is fun.

Who Will Use It?: Teachers and students.

Other Potential Uses: Creation of educational objects for use by anyone on the web.

More Detailed Description: See the IT Gallery

Lead Designer: David R. Johnson

Sponsors: New York Law School.

For more information, visit IT in Law Teaching online.

Certificate of Mastery in Law Practice Technology
Description

The Institute for Information Law and Policy will offer a “Certificate of Mastery in Law Practice Technology,” to be awarded as an honor upon graduation to students who have satisfied various requirements.

Each student seeking an award indicating mastery of a particular subject will submit a proposed plan to demonstrate such mastery to an IILP faculty member as early in his or her law school career as practicable, preferably at the beginning of the second year. Any IILP faculty member may approve such a plan and, having done so, must be available to determine whether it has been executed in a satisfactory fashion. Once the faculty member accepts the plan, the student will pursue the proposed plan and then report back to demonstrate its completion – at which point the faculty member will make the award. The IILP will provide some suggested plans and individual guidance to students who want to achieve mastery in particular areas. We anticipate that completion of the plan will take 2 years though, with diligence, the work can be completed over 1 year. The plan can be revised over the course of the student’s law school career to adapt to changing technologies or circumstances.

For more information, please visit the Certificate of Mastery in Law Practice Technology at the New York Law School's Institute for Information Law & Policy (IILP).

IILP Faculty: Professors Johnson, Mills, Noveck, Peritz, Sherwin, Stracher

Visual Persuasion
Description

NEW YORK LAW SCHOOL´S VISUAL PERSUASION PROJECT LAUNCHES WEB SITE

New York, January 10, 2006 — In an era when most people receive news and entertainment from television and the Internet, lawyers are learning to adapt similar visual techniques for effective communication with judges, juries, and the public at large. New York Law School´s Visual Persuasion Project, founded and directed by Professor Richard K. Sherwin, explores the increasing role played by visual and multimedia tools in contemporary legal practice. Professor Sherwin and the Visual Persuasion Project have now announced the launch of the Visual Persuasion project´s web site.

This site is the first, and to date the only, to showcase “best practices” in the visual litigation services field. The site features a broad range of visual products, from 2-D and 3-D animations to accident reenactments, day-in-the-life documentaries, settlement brochures, montages, and other innovative visual products.

The Public Index
Description

The Google Book Search Lawsuit: The digital future of books is being hammered out in boardsrooms and courtrooms. The proposed settlement in the Google Book Search lawsuit, which would restructure the publishing industry and reshape copyright law, was negotiated by a few lawyers and will be ruled on by a single judge. The public deserves and needs a seat at this table.

The Public Index: Launched in May 2009, the Public Index harnesses the same digital media that are transforming publishing to bring the public into the conversation about publishing’s future. It provides a single convenient forum to learn about and to discuss the proposed settlement in the Google Book Search lawsuit. Members of the public can inform themselves, share their perspectives, connect with each other, and make their voices heard. Key features of the Public Index include comprehensive document repository of legal documents from the lawsuit and an extensive collection of commentaries from around the world.

IILP Faculty: James Grimmelmann

Visit The Public Index online for more information.

DoTank
Description
To develop a multi-school, multi-disciplinary network of students, faculty and professionals working to design and implement ways of using technology for citizen engagement.
Date Publication/Paper
2013

Gurin, Joel and Beth Noveck 2013. Corporations and Transparency: Improving Consumer Markets and Increasing Public Accountability In "Transparency in Politics and the Media: Accountability and Open Government," Nigel Bowles, James T. Hamilton, David A. Lev, eds. I.B. Tauris/Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
View/Download
Abstract

From cuneiform to card catalogs, people have always recorded data. But now we have tools to collect information faster than ever before. The proliferation of data includes statistics collected by governments about the economy, such as unemployment data or data that we supply on our tax returns and patent filings. When the media refer to the era of “Big Data,” they are including the vast amounts of information we also passively generate.  Our mobile phones and cars contain sensors to track and report our location, position, acceleration, and temperature.  The smart meters in our homes reveal when we turn on the heat or hot water. Companies increasingly gather data about our shopping and web browsing habits. The world’s storehouse of digital information is growing at the rate of five trillion bits per second.   

What is revolutionary is not only the quantity of data but also how we can use computers to search, sort, compare, aggregate, visualize, and track data. This kind of analysis can help us understand more about ourselves, our communities, and our environment, realizing the benefits of what has been called the quantified self  and community.  But these benefits can only be realized if data are available in a form that computers can ingest and process.  Data must be open –freely accessible and computable. When data are open, anyone can create sophisticated visualizations, models and analyses as well as spot mistakes or mix and mash across datasets to yield new insights.

Noveck, Beth Simone 2013. The Networked State Harvard University Press

Noveck, Beth Simone and Daniel Goroff 2013. Information for Impact: Liberating Nonprofit Sector Data Aspen Institute (January 2013)
View/Download Report
Abstract

This report addresses the challenges to obtaining better, more usable data about the nonprofit sector to match the sector’s growing importance. In 2010, there were 1.5 million tax-exempt organizations in the United States with $1.51 trillion in revenues. Through the Form 990 in its several varieties, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gathers and publishes a large amount of information about tax-exempt organizations. Over time, versions of the Form 990 have evolved that collect information on governance, investments, and other factors not directly related to an organization’s tax calculations or qualifications for tax exemption. Copies of these returns are available one at a time from the filers or from other sources. The IRS creates image files of Form 990 returns and sells compilationsof them to the subscribing public for a fee. Several institutions, particularly GuideStar, the Foundation Center, and the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) at the Urban Institute, use this IRS data to analyze and present information about individual nonprofits and about the sector as a whole.

Like other important data collected by governments, information contained in the 990s could potentially be far more useful if it were not only public but “open” data. Open data are data that are available to all, free of charge, in a standard format, published without proprietary conditions, and available online as a bulk download rather than only through single-entry lookup. Making the Form 990 data truly open in this sense would not only make it easier to use for the organizations that already process it, but would also make it useful to researchers, advocates, entrepreneurs, technologists, and nonprofits that do not have the resources to use the data in its current form. We argue that open 990 data may increase transparency for nonprofit organizations, making it easier for state and federal authorities to detect fraud, spur innovation in the nonprofit sector and, above all, help us to understand the potential value of the 990 data.

2012

Noveck, Beth 2012. Open Data – The Democratic Imperative Crooked Timber
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Abstract

Open Data are the basis for government innovation. This isn’t because open data make government more transparent or accountable. Like Tom Slee, I have serious doubts about whether it does either of those things. In any event, shining a light on the misdeeds of ineffective institutions isn’t as imperative as redesigning how they work.  Instead, open data can provide the raw material to convene informed conversations inside and outside institutions about what’s broken and the empirical foundation for developing solutions together.


The ability of third parties to participate is what makes open data truly transformative. The organization that collects and maintains information is not always in the exclusive position to use it well.  For example, US regulators have compiled hospital infection rates for a long time.  Accessible only to government professionals, they had limited resources to make adequate use of the information.  When HHS made the data publicly available by publishing the data online in a computable format, then Microsoft and Google were able to mash up that information with mapping data to create search engines that allow anyone – from the investigative journalist to the parent of the sick child—to decide which hospital to choose (or whether it is safer to stay home). When data are open—namely legally and technically accessible and capable of being machine processed – those with technical know how can create sophisticated and useful tools, visualizations, models and analysis as well as spot mistakes or mix and mash across datasets to yield insights. As Matt Parker, put it: “By making data open, you enable others to bring fresh perspectives, insights, and additional resources to your data, and that’s when it can become really valuable.”

2011

Noveck, Beth 2011. Evolving Democracy for the 21st Century Huffington Post
View Article Online
Abstract

In groups people can accomplish what they cannot do alone.  Now new visual and social technologies are making it possible for people to make decisions and solve complex problems collectively. These technologies  are enabling groups not only to  create community but also to
wield power and create rules to  govern their own affairs. Electronic democracy theorists have either focused on the individual and the state, disregarding the collaborative nature of public life,
or they remain wedded to out-dated and unrealistic conceptions of deliberation. This Article makes two central claims.  First, technology will enable more effective forms of collective action. This is
particularly so of the emerging tools for “collective visualization” which will profoundly reshape the ability of people to make decisions, own and dispose of assets, organize, protest, deliberate,
dissent and resolve disputes together.  From this argument derives a second, normative claim.  We should explore ways to structure the law to defer political and legal decisionmaking downward to
decentralized group-based decisionmaking. This argument about  groups expands upon previous theories of law that recognize a center of power independent of central government: namely, the
corporation.  If we take seriously the potential impact of technology on collective action, we ought to think about what it means to give groups body as well as soul – to “incorporate” them. The
Article rejects the anti-group arguments of Sunstein, Posner and Netanel and argues for the potential to realize legitimate self-governance at a “lower” and more democratic level.  The law has a central role to play in empowering active citizens to take part in this new form of democracy.

Noveck, Beth 2011. What's in a Name? Open Gov and Good Gov Huffington Post
View Article Online

Noveck, Beth 2011. Why Cutting E-Gov Funding Threatens American Jobs Huffington Post
View Article Online

2010

Lathrop, Daniel and Laurel Ruma, eds. 2010. Open Government: Collaboration, Transparency, and Participation in Practice O’Reilly Media
View Book Online
Abstract

In a world where web services can make real-time data accessible to anyone, how can the government leverage this openness to improve its operations and increase citizen participation and awareness? Through a collection of essays and case studies, leading visionaries and practitioners both inside and outside of government share their ideas on how to achieve and direct this emerging world of online collaboration, transparency, and participation.

Contributions and topics include:

  • Beth Simone Noveck, U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer for open government, "The Single Point of Failure"
  • Jerry Brito, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, "All Your Data Are Belong to Us: Liberating Government Data"
  • Aaron Swartz, cofounder of reddit.com, OpenLibrary.org, and BoldProgressives.org, "When Is Transparency Useful?"
  • Ellen S. Miller, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, "Disrupting Washington's Golden Rule"
  • Carl Malamud, founder of Public.Resource.Org, "By the People"
  • Douglas Schuler, president of the Public Sphere Project, "Online Deliberation and Civic Intelligence"
  • Howard Dierking, program manager on Microsoft's MSDN and TechNet Web platform team, "Engineering Good Government"
  • Matthew Burton, Web entrepreneur and former intelligence analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency, "A Peace Corps for Programmers"
  • Gary D. Bass and Sean Moulton, OMB Watch, "Bringing the Web 2.0 Revolution to Government"
  • Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, "Defining Government 2.0: Lessons Learned from the Success of Computer Platforms"

Open Government editors:

Daniel Lathrop is a former investigative projects reporter with the Seattle Post Intelligencer who's covered politics in Washington state, Iowa, Florida, and Washington D.C. He's a specialist in campaign finance and "computer-assisted reporting" -- the practice of using data analysis to report the news.

Laurel Ruma is the Gov 2.0 Evangelist at O'Reilly Media. She is also co-chair for the Gov 2.0 Expo.

2009

Noveck, Beth Simone 2009. Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger, and Citizens More Powerful Brookings Press (2009), Russian (2012), Chinese (2011), Arabic (2011), Audio Book (2011)
View Book Online
Abstract

Wiki Government shows how to bring innovation to government. In explaining how to enhance political institutions with the power of networks, it offers a fundamental rethinking of democracy in the digital age. Collaborative democracy-government of the people, by the people, for the people-is an old dream. Today, Wiki Government shows how technology can make that dream a reality. In this thought-provoking book, Beth Simone Noveck illustrates how collaborative democracy strengthens public decisionmaking by connecting the power of the many to the work of the few. Equally important, she provides a step-by-step demonstration of how collaborative democracy can be designed, opening policymaking to greater participation. "Wiki Government" tells the story behind one of the most dramatic public sector innovations in recent years - inviting the public to participate in the patent examination process. Patent examiners usually work in secret, cut off from essential information and racing against the clock to master arcane technical claims. The Peer-to-Patent project radically transformed this process by allowing anyone with Internet access to collaborate with the agency in reviewing patent applications. "Wiki Government" describes how a far-flung team of technologists, lawyers, and policymakers pried open a tradition-bound agency's doors. Noveck explains how she brought both fiercely competitive companies and risk-averse bureaucrats on board. She discusses the design challenges the team faced in creating software to distill online collaboration into useful expertise, not just rants or raves. And she explains how law, policy, and technology can be revamped to help government work in more open and participatory ways in a wide range of policy arenas, including education and the environment.

2008

Noveck, Beth (selected chapters) 2008. A Complex(ity) Strategy for Breaking the Environmental Logjam (with David R. Johnson), in Breaking the LogJam: An Environmental Law for the 21st Century NYU Environ. L. Rev. (Fall 2008)
Abstract

In this essay, we explore how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) might use technology to improve the agency's level of scientific expertise and to obtain useful information sooner to inform EPA policymaking. By creating a self-reinforcing collaboration between government and networked publics, new web-based tools could help produce change within government and without - namely governmental decisions informed by better data obtained through citizen participation and civic action coordinated with governmental priorities. The agency has the opportunity to help break the logjam of environmental policymaking by developing transparent and participatory mechanisms for expert citizen participation. The key insight is not to throw open the floodgates to undifferentiated public input, but to design group-based processes that enable online communities to collaborate on finding and vetting information for agencies.

2007

Noveck, Beth 2007. Wikipedia and the Future of Legal Education Journal of Legal Education, Volume 57, Number 1
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Abstract

Law students are footnoting the publicly authored, online resource known as Wikipedia in their term papers. Courts have cited to Wikipedia in authoritative judicial opinions. Law professors are doing so in their journal articls. Yet some members of the legal and academic communities are up in arms, decrying the use of an encyclopedia that anyone can write and edit. To allow students to rely on an online resource that might contain mistakes encourages laziness and risks undermining the legitimacy of legal authority and professionalism.

2006

Noveck, Beth 2006. Peer to Patent: Collective Intelligence and Intellectual Property Reform 20 Harv. J. L. Tech. 123 
Abstract

The patent system is broken. The Constitution intended for patents to foster innovation and the promotion of progress in the useful arts. Instead, the Patent Office creates uncertainty and monopoly. Underpaid and overwhelmed examiners struggle under the burden of 350,000 applications per year and a mounting backlog of 600,000. Increasingly patents are approved for unmerited inventions. What if we could make it easier to ensure that only the most worthwhile inventions got twenty years of monopoly rights? What if we could offer a
way to protect the inventor’s investment while still safeguarding the marketplace of ideas from bad inventions? What if we could make informed decisions about scientifically complex
problems before the fact, rather than trying to reform the system ex post? What if we could harness collective intelligence to replace bureaucracy?
This Article argues that we should reform the patent system by re-designing the institution of patent examination. Our existing legal mechanisms for awarding the patent monopoly are
constructed around the outdated assumption that only expert bureaucrats can produce dispassionate decisions in the public interest. Building upon what we have learned from online and off-line systems of collaboration, we can now use the tools available to combine the
wisdom of expert scientific communities of practice with the legal determinations of a trained Patent Office staff.

The patent system is broken. The Constitution intended for patents to foster innovation and
the promotion of progress in the useful arts. Instead, the Patent Office creates uncertainty
and monopoly. Underpaid and overwhelmed examiners struggle under the burden of
350,000 applications per year and a mounting backlog of 600,000. Increasingly patents are
approved for unmerited inventions. What if we could make it easier to ensure that only the
most worthwhile inventions got twenty years of monopoly rights? What if we could offer a
way to protect the inventor’s investment while still safeguarding the marketplace of ideas
from bad inventions? What if we could make informed decisions about scientifically complex
problems before the fact, rather than trying to reform the system ex post? What if we could
harness collective intelligence to replace bureaucracy?
This Article argues that we should reform the patent system by re-designing the institution
of patent examination. Our existing legal mechanisms for awarding the patent monopoly are
constructed around the outdated assumption that only expert bureaucrats can produce
dispassionate decisions in the public interest. Building upon what we have learned from online and off-line systems of collaboration, we can now use the tools available to combine the
wisdom of expert scientific communities of practice with the legal determinations of a
trained Patent Office staff.

Balkin, Jack M. and Beth S. Noveck, eds. 2006. The State of Play: Law and Virtual Worlds NYU Press, 2006
View Book Online
Abstract

The State of Play presents an essential first step in understanding how new digital worlds will change the future of our universe. Millions of people around the world inhabit virtual words: multiplayer online games where characters live, love, buy, trade, cheat, steal, and have every possible kind of adventure. Far more complicated and sophisticated than early video games, people now spend countless hours in virtual universes like Second Life and Star Wars Galaxies not to shoot space invaders but to create new identities, fall in love, build cities, make rules, and break them.

As digital worlds become increasingly powerful and lifelike, people will employ them for countless real-world purposes, including commerce, education, medicine, law enforcement, and military training. Inevitably, real-world law will regulate them. But should virtual worlds be fully integrated into our real-world legal system or should they be treated as separate jurisdictions with their own forms of dispute resolution? What rules should govern virtual communities? Should the law step in to protect property rights when virtual items are destroyed or stolen?

These questions, and many more, are considered in The State of Play, where legal experts, game designers, and policymakers explore the boundaries of free speech, intellectual property, and creativity in virtual worlds. The essays explore both the emergence of law in multiplayer online games and how we can use virtual worlds to study real-world social interactions and test real-world laws.

Contributors include: Jack M. Balkin, Richard A. Bartle, Yochai Benkler, Caroline Bradley, Edward Castronova, Susan P. Crawford, Julian Dibbell, A. Michael Froomkin, James Grimmelmann, David R. Johnson, Dan Hunter, Raph Koster, F. Gregory Lastowka, Beth Simone Noveck, Cory Ondrejka, Tracy Spaight, and Tal Zarsky.

Noveck, Beth 2006. Trademark Law and the Social Construction of Trust: Creating the Legal Framework for On-Line Identity 83 Wash. U. L. Q. 1733
Abstract

The intellectual property system has fostered many debates, including recent ones, regarding how the system affects access to knowledge. Yet, before one can access, one must preserve. Two interconnected problems posed by the growth of online creation illustrate the predicament. First, unlike analog creations, important digital creations such as e-mails and word-processed documents are mediated and controlled by second parties. Thus, although these creations are core intellectual property, they are not treated as such. Service providers and software makers terminate or deny access to people’s digital property all the time. In addition, when one dies, some service providers refuse to grant heirs access to this property. The uneven and unclear management of these creations means that society will lose access to perhaps the greatest chronicling of human experience ever. Accordingly, this Article investigates and sets forth the theoretical foundations to explain why and how society should preserve this property. In so doing the Article finds that a second problem, which can be understood as one of control, arises.

This Article is the first in a series of works aimed at investigating the nature and extent of control one may have or exert over a work. As such, this Article begins the project by examining the normative theories behind creators’, heirs’, and society’s interests in the works. All three groups have interests in preservation, but the basis for the claims differs. In addition, an examination of the theoretical basis for these claims shows that the nature of the attention economy in conjunction with labor- and persona-based property theories support the position that in life a creator has strong claims for control over her intangible creations. Yet, the Article finds that historical and literary theory combined with recent economic theory as advanced by Professors Brett Frischmann and Mark Lemley regarding spillovers—positive externalities generated by access to ideas and information—reveals two points. First, these views support the need for better preservation of digital intellectual property insofar as it is infrastructure and has the potential for spillover effects. Second, although the creator may be best placed to manage and exert control of the works at issue, once the creator dies, literary, historical, and economic theory show that the claims for control diminish if not vanish. The explication and implications of this second point are explored elsewhere. This Article lays the groundwork for seeing that creators may need and have powerful claims for access and control over their works but that these same claims are necessarily limited by an understanding of the nature of creation and creative systems. The dividing line falls between life and death. The life and death distinction that this Article offers seeks to balance creators’ interests in control over a work and society’s interests in fostering later expressions and creations of new works. This Article examines the life side of the line.

2005

Noveck, Beth and David R. Johnson 2005. Society's Software Society's Software, 74 FORDHAM L. REV 101 (2005)
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Abstract

The First Amendment serves many purposes both individual and social.
It facilitates the expression that is the cornerstone of self-fulfillment and self-realization. It also serves to diffuse societal violence' by allowing for an airing of controversial opinions and diluting the ill effects of harmful speech. The First Amendment is credited with safeguarding the proverbial marketplace of ideas, and thereby facilitating an evolutionary process that allows good ideas to propagate. Scholars from Professor Alexander Meiklejohn to Professor Owen Fiss see free expression as a political freedom essential to democracy. Professor Jack Balkin argues that free speech secures the right of individuals to participate in the production and distribution of culture, not simply politics narrowly understood.

All are incorrect, at least in emphasis, to suggest that core First
Amendment goals revolve entirely around freedom for individuals to speak their own minds. In an era of computer networks and peer production technologies, we increasingly produce both democracy and culture collectively. The group, not the individual, is the central speech actor, the crucible where individual opinions are combined and refined, where the resulting group speech is translated into action and amplified by money.

2004

Noveck, Beth 2004. "Unchat: Democratic Solution for a Wired World" in Democracy Online: The Prospects for Democratic Renewal Through the Internet Peter Shane, ed.,(2004)
View Online
Abstract

Taking a multidisciplinary approach that they identify as a "cyber-realist research agenda," the contributors to this volume examine the prospects for electronic democracy in terms of its form and practice--while avoiding the pitfall of treating the benefits of electronic democracy as being self-evident. The debates question what electronic democracy needs to accomplish in order to revitalize democracy and what the current state of electronic democracy can teach us about the challenges and opportunities for implementing democratic technology initiatives.

Noveck, Beth 2004. The Electronic Revolution in Rulemaking 53 EMORY L. J. 1 

2003

Noveck, Beth 2003. "Designing Deliberative Democracy" in Cyberspace: The Role of the Cyber-lawyer 9 B.U. J. Sci. and Tech. L. 1-71